Dak Prescott may have led the Dallas Cowboys back to the playoffs last season, but he's going to have to do more in January to get full buy-in around the NFL.
Prescott was ranked 10th among NFL quarterbacks by executives and coaches polled by ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, with one pointing to his lack of postseason success as the reason he's still not an elite option.
"A good but not great QB; he has to play well in the playoffs," an NFC exec said. "Has to prove [he] can take them to the next level. He's not in the top echelon."
The Cowboys have won just one playoff game in Prescott's six NFL seasons. They were ousted in the Wild Card Round by the San Francisco 49ers last season despite a 12-5 regular-season mark.
Prescott was limited to 254 yards on 23-of-43 passing with a touchdown and an interception in the 23-17 loss. His career 87.9 quarterback rating in the playoffs is a full 10.8 points lower than his regular-season mark.
"There are certain moments and games that I think will stick with players or people for a long time in their career, and I think this game was one of them," Prescott told Rich Eisen of the loss in February. "This was a team, and we had everything. We thought we were heading in the right direction to do what we needed to do to go get a win, and we didn't."
The Cowboys will head into the 2022 season expected to repeat as NFC East champions, but there are areas of the roster where they're weaker than a year ago. The offseason trade of Amari Cooper will hurt their wide receiver depth, especially with Michael Gallup recovering from an ACL tear.
It's also unclear whether the Dallas defense will be able to repeat its brilliant performance from last season.
The onus may be on Prescott more than ever to show he can be a true franchise quarterback.